I believe the most important lessons we learn in life are never written in a teacher’s lesson plan. They have nothing to do with math or science or the year some war began. Now understand me: these things are still important! However, the knowledge we get from these types of lessons don’t necessarily shape us into who we are or who we will become.
The lessons that benefit us the most are the ones that teach us who we are and how to interact with others.
How to love and empathize.
That’s that part of you that says “aw, poor turtle!” showing that you care for it and can imagine the position that it is in.
In my experience it is harder to be honest with yourself than with other people, but you cannot be truly honest with other people until you are honest with yourself. Confusing, I know. But that’s life!
What is important to you?
Basically, what is the most important to you? What would you risk your life for? Learning how to prioritize is something that teachers touch on in class. Time management. But what values will you stand up for against all odds? People? Possessions?
A simple way to figure this out is to answer the question “If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have 5 things with you, what would they be?” This is assuming all of the things you would need to survive (food, water and shelter) are already present. Write down the five things. Then explain why. Analyze and reanalyze your decisions. Put yourself in that position (giving you the opportunity to empathize with anyone who might be stuck on a deserted island) and imagine what would really mean the most to you.
There is also the abstract version of this question. What values do you hold dear? Honesty? Loyalty? Intelligence? Do you possess any of these? Are they things you admire in someone you love like a family member or friend?
That main point I would like to make is that while these lessons CAN be learned in the classroom, there are no lesson plans created that cover them. Love and empathy, honesty and the value we place on things can only be learned through experiencing life, interacting with others and reflection.